A Practitioner’s Journey: Increasing Subtlety in the Therapeutic Touch Treatment

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

As a practitioner grows in the experience of using Therapeutic Touch, shifts in understanding and skill occur. The practitioner moves from doing something to the field to working with the field and finally to deepening center and being with the field. An increasing subtlety and effectiveness in using TT occurs with this development.

The Journey Begins

In the early use of Therapeutic Touch, the practitioner works in something of a mechanical way. Other than centering, the steps of the treatment are seen as separate and distinct. Assessment is simply noting where differences exist in the field and when repeated at the end of the treatment yields only limited information about how the field responded to treatment. The practitioner decides on a colour to use to send energy into the field and chooses the place to do it. There are few pauses in the treatment and it tends to be either very brief or quite long (particularly for those who see unruffling as a physical way of moving congestion from the field, and who do this ad infinitum!).


The Second Stage: Field as Partner (1)


Assessment. Eventually, the practitioner starts to recognize that the field is giving information continuously throughout the treatment, or in other words that the field is engaging in conversation with the practitioner. For the practitioner to also engage in this, assessment must be ongoing throughout the treatment. Assessment is more than hand sensations: it is observational and intuitive too and it is inherent in every moment of the treatment.


The practitioner also begins to recognize that the field is giving information in many ways:

a) condition of the field and location of discrepancies in the field

b) field’s response to the intervention – either accepting it, attempting to adjust it (e.g., changing the colour/vibration of energy directed into it, and/or moving the energy to where it is needed) or blocking it because it is too strong or inappropriate

c) providing intuitive insights – either as a way of directing the treatment, giving information about the multi-layered experiences of the field, or of releasing experience

d) affecting the practitioner’s state of centering – deepening it if the work is proceeding well, and reducing it if the field is having difficulty accepting the work.


In each of these ways, the field is stating its role as leading partner in the TT treatment.


Unruffling. Unruffling shifts from attempting to physically move congestion or to bring more energy into the field to merging with visualization; the hands become a metaphor for thought and intention. In many instances, physical unruffling gives way to simply visualization, so that the aspects of long-distance TT become more and more apparent in the TT treatment (a single, brief unruffling movement will be many time more effective than dozens of unruffling sweeps thought the field done mechanically).


Visualizations may be developed in partnership with the field by taking an image from the field, changing it and giving it back. An example of this is the field presenting an image of heavy, dull congestion, and the practitioner visualizing this siphoned off into the ground with accompanying unruffling hand movements.


Visualization can shift from presenting directions to the field, to receiving information from the field and mirroring it back (saying to the field “Do you see what this looks like?”), or to asking for help (from the Earth to enhance grounding, from plants and trees to draw congestion away, from animal spirits to speak to the field about greater order, from beings of light to support and direct the treatment).


Grounding visualizations are among the most effective ones in the TT treatment. When done early and periodically throughout the treatment, grounding supports energy flow through the field that integrates/unifies the field. Asking the Earth to hold the person affects the entire field and brings this magnificent conscious living being into the partnership.


Energy Modulation. The truth is that we do not understand how the field works. We believe that a field that is not functioning well is depleted energetically. In most instances, the field will quickly block energy that is directed into it strongly (the practitioner starts to lose center and the receiver may show discomfort). Directing energy to specific places in the field may be met with resistance as well. Most experienced practitioners recognize that even when they try to send colour into the field, the field will often adjust the colour to meet its own vibrational needs. So how then does a practitioner support the re-energizing of the field?


The practitioner learns that the field is intelligent: given half a chance it will move toward a better functioning state, it will adjust energy to meet its own needs and it will direct energy to where it is needed.


The practitioner begins to recognize that subtle energy directing is more effective than attempting to shove huge amounts of energy into the field, and that offering energy rather than directing it allows the field to use it more efficiently. Some ways of subtlety bring more energy into the field are:

a) gently drawing white or rainbow coloured light into the field with unruffling and inviting the field to take the energy in the colour that is most appropriate and send it to where it is needed


b) Creating a ball of light (2) in the hand and offering this to a place where there is a chakra (energy intake centers). This approach is useful with

i. the lower four major chakras (the upper chakras will not take this energy in easily because it comes at the vibration of the heart chakra of the practitioner and is too heavy for them)

ii. with joints below the neck (every joint has a small chakra).

The practitioner monitors energy intake, and when it slows, unruffles gently to clear any energy build-up in the area.


c) An even more subtle way of highly energizing the field is to remind it of its normal function which is taking in energy from the sea of energy in which it exists. Light unruffling at a chakra (lower five major chakras or minor chakras/joints) followed by a telepathic reminder to the field that it lives in a sea of energy, that its normal function is taking in energy from this sea, usually results in the chakra drawing in more energy in an ongoing fashion.


The Journey Continues: Being with the Field


Eventually, the practitioner learns that deepening center is what the TT treatment is all about. Deepening center moves both the practitioner and the recipient into a state of infinite possibility for wholeness.


Assessment. Deepening center invites the field to come out to the practitioner and assessment takes on a very different character with the sense of the whole field rather than disparate parts.


Treatment. The most subtle and effective way of working with the field is to deepen center. By changing ourselves, we change everything. This move into infinite peace opens a doorway for the field to wholeness. Ellen Edmondson, Co-leader of London, ON TT Hospital Team says, “When I deepen center, the field starts to shift and I feel like I can go get a cup of tea while the field does its own healing!”


In some treatments, the practitioner can maintain a very deep state of centering for the entire treatment, while in others it is enough for the practitioner to pause occasionally and considerably deepen center. Either way, the field will make a greater move toward wholeness than if the practitioner does a treatment within a lightly centered state.




In most treatments, an experienced practitioner has a wide range of ways with which to work with the field. There will be instances where unruffling the congested edge of the field and working with a visualization of energy flow is sufficient. The most profound treatments however, incorporate deep centering and simply being with the field while it proceeds toward greater wholeness.



1. Barbara Janelle, Our Healing Power: Therapeutic Touch for Humans and Animals, Self-published: 1999, 2004, and Embodiment of Spirit: Learning Through Therapeutic Touch and Interspecies Communication, Self-published: 2003

2. Markides, Kyriacos C. The Magus of Strovolos: The Extraordinary World of a Spiritual Healer. New York, London: Arkana/ Penguin, 1985.


– BJ/May 2004